Posted by Johanna Schoeffert

You can lie about your age as much as you like but it’s usually your skin that gives the game away! Whether you’ve just started noticing a few fine lines or if you’ve been doing battle with wrinkles for years, there’s plenty you can do to reduce them. Be it lifestyle changes, products or medical procedures we’ve been investigating the top tips and tricks.

1. Keep out of the sun

It’s the top cause of wrinkles. Plenty of studies have found the connection between wrinkles and too much sun. It’s important to avoid excessive exposure, which causes sun damage to the skin. UV light, especially UVA causes ageing of the skin by breaking down the collagen and elastin which give it support. Wrinkles tend to appear on the face, neck and backs of the hands first as they are generally the areas most exposed to the sun. Sun damage not only makes you look older, it is also the main cause of skin cancer, so there are plenty of good reasons for looking after your skin in the sun.

2. Slap on sunscreen

If you do go out in the sun always wear sunscreen even in the winter. It is never too late to start wearing sunscreen every day. We know UV exposure is the main cause of skin ageing, and remember, even on cloudy days up to 80% of the sun’s harmful UV rays can reach your skin.

3. Don’t smoke

Research shows that the skin of smokers ages more quickly than that of non-smokers. The skin tends to be thinner and has more furrows and lines. Smokers often get deep grooves around their lips. Smoking can break down the skin’s natural collagen which makes skin look less firm and more wrinkled. Cigarette smoke is one the main environmental factors that causes changes in the skin often associated with looking old, such as coarse wrinkling and a sallow, leathery texture.

4. Sleep on your back

Don’t skimp on sleep and make sure you do it on your back. If you sleep on your side or front every night you can get sleep lines etched into your face which won’t disappear when you get up. Over time these lines can become a permanent facial fixture. Some people like to sleep on silk sheets and pillowcases to lessen the effect.

5. Wear glasses or sunglasses

In other words don’t screw up your eyes or squint. Any repetitive facial movement can overwork your facial muscles forming a groove which can turn into a wrinkle.

6. Eat a healthy and varied diet

The condition of your skin can sometimes be reflected in what you eat. Feed your skin from the inside by eating a variety of foods including your ‘5 a day’. Drink plenty of water and don’t over consume alcohol, which can dehydrate the skin.

7. Eat Superfoods

There is no single miracle food that makes us less wrinkly but eating foods that are known to contain vitamins, minerals and Omega-3 fatty acids will all contribute to keeping your skin healthy and glowing. Vitamins A, C, E, riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine and selenium play a role in skin health.

8. Moisturise

Even a simple moisturiser without any special ingredients will reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The skin will look plumper and more supple rather than drier and lined. Try one with a built in sunscreen. Some skin moisturisers and treatments contain special ingredients that claim to reduce wrinkles. The anti-ageing ingredients are found in many skin care products that you can buy over-the-counter or are available on prescription from a dermatologist. They can also be used in skin peels. The percentage of the active ingredient varies according to the product.

9. Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs)

These are natural fruit acids which lift away the top layer of dead skin cells, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, particularly around the eyes. In higher concentrations, AHAs may help stimulate collagen production. AHAs are used in skin peels and can improve hydration due to lactic acid stimulation. They improve collagen synthesis and improve elastin fibres in the dermis as well as encouraging skin renewal.

10. Antioxidants

They are natural substances made up of vitamins and minerals found in plants. They can work to counteract free radicals that damage DNA. Damaged skin cells may lead to wrinkles. You can eat foods rich in antioxidants like blueberries, blackberries and kidney beans. You can also use them on your skin. Many skin treatments contain a form of anti-oxidant. They include green tea extract, vitamin A, vitamin C and coenzyme Q-10 (CoQ-10).

11. Vitamin C and A

Many skin care products claiming to minimise fine lines and wrinkles contain these vitamins. Vitamin A is sometimes referred to as retinol, which is form of vitamin A. Certain medicated creams containing vitamin C or modified vitamin A can have the desired effect for some people looking to treat wrinkles, and these are generally available on prescription from a dermatologist.

12. Q10 (CoQ-10) and Idebonone

Your body naturally makes CoQ-10 to neutralise free radicals in cells. As you age, you make less CoQ-10. That may make skin cells more vulnerable to damage by free radicals. That is the reasoning behind the use of the antioxidant in skin care products. Idebonone is related to Q10 (CoQ-10). It is an antioxidant which some studies suggest may help reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

13. Matrixyl

A peptide is used in many everyday skin care creams and lotions. 2013 studies have found it is a genuinely effective anti-wrinkle ingredient. It was found that it can nearly double the amount of protein collagen needed to give skin its elasticity.

14. Vampire Facials

This is a treatment that has become popular with celebrities. Basically blood is taken from your arm, put in a special spinning machine which separates the component parts. The plasma, rich with platelets, is then injected into your face with tiny needles. It apparently stimulates the growth of more cells and makes your skin look younger and less wrinkled. This treatment can be expensive.

15. Botox

An injection of this purified version of the Botulinum toxin A relaxes the muscle just underneath the wrinkle, allowing the skin on top to lie smooth and crease-free. Non-permanent treatments such as Botulinum injections give great results in reducing wrinkles around the upper part of the face, typically frown lines, across the forehead and down the sides of the eyes.

16. Dermal Fillers

Doctors fill wrinkles with a variety of substances, including collagen, hyaluronic acid and other synthetic compounds. Fillers containing hyaluronic acid work well in replacing the volume lost from beneath the skin that happens with age and these fill in the contours usually around the chin and between the nose and mouth. These treatments typically last 4-6 months but over time can be longer. Be warned, as with any sort of treatment, always make sure they are given by a properly qualified person using reputable products.

17. Laser Resurfacing

It is a technique that removes the outer layers of skin on your face and encourages new skin to grow. A laser or a light is used to remove the top layer of skin. It can be done under local or general anaesthetic. You can have your whole face done or have certain areas like your lip lines or forehead lines, specifically targeted.

18. Chemical peels

Different chemicals are used to burn away the top layer of skin, creating damage that kick starts the skin into making more collagen. You end up with younger-looking, smoother skin.

19. Dermabrasion

A vacuum suction device used together with a chemical crystal, dermabrasion helps remove the top layer of skin cells and bring new, more evenly textured skin to the surface. In the process, fine lines and wrinkles seem to disappear.

20. Facelift

If you have extremely deep wrinkles which you are particularly distressed about a facelift is an option. You will need to organise a consultation with a professionally recommended cosmetic surgeon to discuss the various procedures on offer to you.

Laughter Lines

We all want to make the most of what we’ve got. Many people want to look younger than they are, to defy nature and put off the inevitable. It’s a fact of life that skin changes as we age. No-one wants to look raddled by wrinkles but a few here and there are fine, especially if you call them laughter lines!